Saturday, February 22, 2020

A Walk About

or Looking for Signs of Spring

As the days grow longer, talk of spring is popular.  There have been reports of crocus, daffodil, and forsythia blooming already because of the warmer than usual winter we've been having in the east, I took a walk around the yard looking for some of these early bits of color. While I didn't find many of the things my friends have been talking about, I was not disappointed.

I found snowdrops in the ground cover bed. This is the first year I've seen them. Which means that I have missed seeing them before or they were with some of the daffodil bulbs from a friend I planted last fall.  Whatever is the case, they were a great surprise.

Miss Annie Laurie's hellebore is blooming. This poor plant has managed to survive through multiple transplants and injuries, but this is the first time it has bloomed in several years. Now I'm not sure if I should transplant it to the other location that I thought would be better for it. 

I didn't find any forsythia blooms, but I did find this bird's nest in a forsythia bush 

Several people have said that they have crocus blooming, but I only have the leaves starting to emerge. 

The nandina is giving a show with its bright, red berries. Birds don't like these berries, so they remain all winter.

And no walk around the yard would be complete without a porch update. The main structure is done. We are now waiting on warm enough weather for painting. After that is done, ceiling fans, gutters, drains, and lights will be installed. When it's warm enough for the porch to get painted, that will be a sure sign of spring.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

This and That

I'm definitely not a morning person, especially if I don't get a good night's sleep, like last night. So everyone in my house has come to an understanding that I'm best left alone this morning as we go about getting ready for our day, a don't-poke-the-bear kind of self-preservation. I just need a little time. But I'm happy to use my waking up time to catch up with all of you and tell you about some of the this and that that has been filling my days.

Yesterday, we bought a new car. A new used car, that is. Ward's car is 10 years old, but has no major problems and we hadn't thought about replacing it. But a friend of Uncle Billy's was selling a newer car that had a lot more of the safety features that we were interested in, so we decided it would be a good thing. The process took all day yesterday. The workers at the DMV were doing their best to be efficient and friendly, but it just takes time to process thousands of people. We now have a shiny "new" car that will be safer for Ward to drive to work every day. I feel fortunate that we were able to do this.

The day before that was a fun day when I had a cookbook party here with friends from work. We all chose a different recipe from the same cookbook, cooked it, and brought it to the party to share. It was a great way to sample several different recipes to see what you thought about them. There was not a dud in the bunch. All delicious. But someone made a comment that I think is even more important. "How nice that you like the people you work with enough to socialize with them outside of work."  I am very fortunate.

Speaking of work, it is going well, however, I am definitely still in the adjusting and learning phase. A couple of people have told me that it will take about a year or longer until I will feel comfortable. I have a ways to go then. Among other things, I am learning about storytimes and am starting to take part in them. Learning and performing them are exhausting me at this point, but I am really enjoying interacting with the kids. Many have said that I am learning under the best children's librarian in our large library system. I am very fortunate in that way.

A couple of weeks ago, Ward and I went to Phil Wiggins concert. Who is that you may say (or not)? Phil is a renown harmonica player who helped develop the Piedmont Blues sound. I have only recently discovered him and am very happy that I did. It turns out that he is married to Jerri, someone I went to school with and recently connected with on Facebook. I was going to meet Jerri at the concert but unfortunately she got sick and couldn't come. But we were fortunate that she hadn't passed her illness to Phil and he did come and give a great concert of music and storytelling.

I am still tired, but I have to move onto other things. I think Ward and Theo have left for the day. How fortunate for them. :)

Until next time...

Monday, February 10, 2020

Thankful Monday

I am thankful for surprise connections.

I have a Facebook account but I am definitely not a frequent poster--maybe once a year or so. However, that does not stop others from reaching out to become FB friends with me. I made one of these friend connections recently with Sam.

Sam was with me throughout most of our school years. While we were together in many of our elementary school classes, we went different ways as time progressed. If truth be told, I remember more about Sam in fifth grade drawing elaborate pictures of army tanks and airplanes than I do about him in high school. We probably had classes together, but I don't remember them.

Sam recently became a new grandfather to twin girls that he posted about on his FB page. He was quite proud and sent me a picture through Messenger as I'm sure he did many others. I made an appropriate one line comment about the babies and he replied with the standard, "What have you been up to?"

Then we chatted a bit and tried to catch up on the last 40 years. He asked me if  I had ever been to a Grateful Dead concert or to a biker rally. I answered no to both of those.  He said he had led an unfocused life and was now in constant pain from showing off too much in his younger years. We had pretty much led totally opposite lives. But that didn't seem to matter. We were still the friends we had been in fifth grade.

Then Sam said something that took me by surprise. He said that he had been blessed to get to know my father in his later years and he was a fine gentleman. He added, "He was so proud of you." I said that my father had set a good example for me and my sisters. And Sam said, "Obviously." After a few sentimental tears, I spent the rest of the day smiling about the chat I had had with Sam.

Many of the connections I make on Facebook are not much more than a distraction from other things I should be doing. But sometimes, there is a special moment like the one with Sam recently and for that I am thankful.

Friday, January 31, 2020

Porch Update, Weeks 12, 13

The end is almost in sight. The work is progressing without any major hitches and we continue to be pleased as we see each new part built.  Here's what the builders have been up to.

The inside trim work has been installed around the doors including new beadboard on either side.  When all is said and done, we will install our decorative muntins on the glass panels to see how we like them. If we think they block too much of the view, we'll remove some or all of them.

They also did more trim work outside including the vertical siding over the door...

And over the arch on the front of the porch.

They installed most of the railing this week. First they installed shims on the posts before they put on the wrap (notice it beside the carpenter). I took this picture from inside where it was nice and warm while the carpenter was bundled up and working in freezing temperatures. I never hear them complain except one day he mentioned that it was kind of raw outside. That was day when it was raining and in the 30's. I'm not hardy enough to do this kind of work.

Then the sections were assembled and and installed between the posts. The railings are made from heavy-duty PVC reinforced with a metal core for strength.

The electrician completed work on the subpanel and wiring, and we passed the electrical inspection.

With electrical inspection done, they started on the ceiling to cover up the wiring. The ceiling is fir and will be stained.

There is unusually warm weather forecast for next week, so they are hoping to get everything done for painting then. That may mean extra work this weekend for them and us. We thought we had until spring to pick out colors, but those decisions have to be made this weekend. Right now we are deciding between 15 colors of beige trying to match the siding on the house. And an accent color to go in a couple of places. We're not sure about the color we'll have the ceiling stained. But tomorrow while I'm at work, Ward is buying some stain to try out. 

We're almost there!

Until next time...

In case you missed the other installments:

And So It Begins

Porch Building, Week 2

Porch Building, Week 3

Porch Building, Weeks 4, 5, 6

Porch Update, Weeks 7, 8

Porch Update, Weeks 9, 10

Porch Update, Week 11

Thursday, January 30, 2020

It's the little things.

This morning started with a little thing that made me smile. I found an apple that rattled. While washing an apple before adding it to a lunch, I noticed a sound. I quickly took it to Ward to see if he heard the same thing. He, too, heard the subtle rattle with a little shake. We both surmised that there were loose seeds in the middle and that's what I found when I cut it open. I'm sure there are plenty of other apples around with loose seeds that rattle, but this was a first for me-finding an apple that I could use as a rhythm instrument. The shaker apple didn't last long because I cut it up, but aren't most things in nature fleeting even when they seem to remain the same?

As long as I'm here, let's see if I can fill in what I've been doing since we last visited. There are lots of things that I can't go into detail about because they are not my stories to tell. But I've been to three memorial services and helped a relative who was in the hospital. My new job is keeping me busy with several trainings and meetings as well as other routine things. I am slowly learning my new responsibilities but have miles to go before I sleep. I have started using a light box in the mornings after testimonials from several friends. So far, I wouldn't say that a miracle has happened from using it, but I would say that overall, I am sleeping better. Always a good thing. The porch construction is progressing well and I will probably do another porch update tomorrow.

Unfortunately, I'm out of computer time for now because I have to get ready for work.

Until next time...